Tour de Rincon: A four-day hike in the Rincon Mountains

May 19 - 22, 2006


Day 1       Day 2       Day 3        Day 4


Day 1

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Unpacking and getting ready.
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First rattlesnake sighting, right on the trail. It won't be our last.
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A scenic view from Miller Creek trail, looking back towards the East.
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Jani and Jason hiking up the Miller Creek trail.
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Rest break on the trail.
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Jason, after making it to the campsite.
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Breaking camp on Day 1.
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Colin and Catherine going up on the Rincon Peak trail.
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Colin at the top of Rincon Peak. It was a 8-mile hike, with a 4000-ft elevation gain, to get there from our starting point. And we still had another 3.5 miles to go back to camp.
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Me at the summit.
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Colin enjoying the view.
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Colin, Catherine, and Dave at the summit.
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A special meal at the summit: crab meat and caviar on crackers.
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Jani about to try the caviar.
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A view from the summit.
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Dave setting up the campstove.
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Delphine by the bearbox. It's a good thing we stashed all our smelly stuff into it, because we did have a nocturnal visitor that night.
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Jason preparing his dehydrated meal, which turned out to have a rather disgusting taste.


Day 2

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Early morning on the Heartbreak Ridge trail, heading north to Manning Camp.
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Rincon Peak from the Heartbreak Ridge trail.
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A glimpse of civilization (Vail, I think) far below.
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A cactus in bloom.
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My attempt to be artistic.
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Rincon Peak, from farther up Heartbreak Ridge.
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Looking forward to Mica Mountain.
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We were promised "guaranteed water" at Manning Camp by the National Park Service. When Dave and I got there, we discovered that there was no water in the spigot. At first, the only water we could find was in the horse trough, which happened to have a decomposing squirrel floating around in it. We were really hoping we wouldn't have to drink it.
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The good news was that we found another water source, in the form of a nearby "pond." The bad news was that the improvement was rather marginal.
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Finally we found a deep pond with flowing water. Dave is working the filter pump.
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Dave on a trail not too far from our Day 2 campsite.
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One of many very large rocks in the area.
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Catherine on a rope swing.
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Catherine filtering more drinking water.
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A marker for the now-gone fire tower near the summit of Mica Mountain.
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A USGS marker at the summit of Mica Mountain.
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Ann and Jason at Spud Rock, near the summit of Mica Mountain.
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A view from Spud Rock.
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Jason and Colin on Spud Rock.
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Another view from Spud Rock.
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Ann taking a photo of a blooming cactus.
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We witnessed a beautiful sunset as we headed back to our campsite from the summit of Mica Mountain.
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I went to do some laundry at the pond shortly after sunset and was greeted by many flying bats.
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Day 2 campsite.


Day 3

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Same campsite at the beginning of Day 3.
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Delphine doing some rock climbing to get to a beautiful overlook.
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This is probably my favorite picture. It really captures the spirit of the hike.
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Catherine taking pictures at the overlook.
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Dave, with the city far below.
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A long walk down the Cow Head Saddle trail.
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Colin resting at the junction of Cow Head Saddle, Douglas Spring, and Tanque Verde Ridge trails.
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Catherine reading a Heinlein novel during a lunch break at the trail junction.
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Jani consulting a map, apparently tempted by the possibility of hiking the more scenic Tanque Verde Ridge trail.
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My plans to solo hike the Tanque Verde Ridge trail all the way to Tucson were rudely interrupted by this sign.
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Looking back at Mica Mountain from the Tanque Verde Ridge trail.
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Rincon Peak, which we visited two days ago, in the distance.
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View from the Tanque Verde Ridge towards Vail.
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Tanque Verde Ridge, with Tanque Verde Peak in the background.
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Three "summits" lined up.
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Approaching the top of Tanque Verde Peak.
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Sheer cliffs near the summit of Tanque Verde Peak.
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A helpful sign.
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A register near the summit. Apparently I was the first visitor in almost two weeks.
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A view from the summit of Tanque Verde Peak. This area reminded me of the Chiricahua Mountains.
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Rincon Peak in the distance.
30 MB movie

A panoramic movie clip shot at the summit, complete with the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Peter Jackson better watch out! :)
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Me at the summit of Tanque Verde Peak.
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Another view of the summit.
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Getting to the summit involved a bit of rock climbing. This was the easiest way up (and down).
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On my way down to the campsite, I noticed a very active, slithering rattlesnake in this dry wash. You can see it in this picture if you look hard enough.
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Some close-ups of the rattlesnake.
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One of several popped balloons we noticed on this hike. Apparently they were let go in the city and ended up high in the mountains.
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Beautifully lit scenery close to the sunset on my way down to Douglas Spring campground.
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When I got to the campground, I found the campers in a state of agitation over a close encounter with a rattlesnake. Here, Jason is pointing to where the incident occurred.
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Dave, Delphine, and Catherine at our Day 3 campsite.
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Emergency measures, such as stuffing 3 people into a 1-person tent were considered to avoid cuddling with rattlesnakes at night.
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Day 4

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Getting a very early start on Day 4 to avoid hiking in high desert heat.
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First rays of the rising sun hit the mountain slopes.
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Good morning, Tucson! A still-sleeping city down below.
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Hiking down the last few miles through an increasingly desert-like landscape.
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Colin hiking the final mile or so to the trailhead and civilization.
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Jason at the end of the hike.
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The first group out loading up for departure.